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Saccy's Pit (or Horwood's Pit)


The postcard above by Henry Taunt dates from around 1900 and shows the pit that was then named after Saccy Horwood. The cottage on the left of the picture is the present 47/49 Quarry High Street; the large house on the right is 24 Quarry High Street; and the one in the centre is 63 Pitts Road.

The eponymous Saccy Horwood lived in a cottage at one end of this pit. In his youth he had been a morris dancer, but ill-health reduced him to totting for a living, including bringing watercress from Ewelme. Raphael Samuel records that he also caught snakes on the brickfields to sell to the university laboratories, and also acted as a rag-'n'-bone man. He also sold fish, grew potatoes for sale, and caught birds to send to London. He also put on a weekly open-air show in Quarry known as “Saccy in the Tub”. He may have acquired his nickname from habitually carrying a sack on his back.

The engraving below shows an earlier view of what later became known as Saccy Horwood's pit (c.1820), looking in a different direction, with the Chequers Inn behind.

Engraving of a quarry in 1820

Saccy's Pit in 1921

This pit was in the heart of Quarry village and was still being used as a rubbish tip in 1914.

The detail on the left from the 1921 map of Headington Quarry shows Saccy's Pit marked as an old quarry.

Quarry children liked to use this pit as a slide in the early twentieth century, as it was particularly deep

The pit is now filled in and is the site of Beaumont Alley.

Saccy Horwood's Pit in 1906

© Stephanie Jenkins

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